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Milky Way (Mando x Golden Gaits) 1991-2006
Mick and Betsy
Mick hugging a llama
Milky Way was born out in the open on a starlit night, just as his sister Galaxy had been a year before. His mother managed to sneak in labor between my hourly checks, so when I rose from bed to shine a flashlight into the paddock from the deck on the house, I was startled to see a foal running about, dragging a placenta behind it.
By the time I dressed and made it there, the placenta and foal had parted company, but that was only the beginning of a unique Haflinger's life. Mick was born a comedian and looked for ways to keep his people smiling.
He charmed thousands at our local fair as one of our "display" Haflingers as a youngster of only 2 and 3, which required patience as well as a basic curiosity and affection for people as they petted and admired him for hours and days on end. He was the first Haflinger in the northwest to start making appearances at dressage events and horse trials, winning ribbons and many fans for the breed. He became a sought after schooling horse for beginners and did a little plowing teamed up alongside his uncle "Hans". He took it all in stride, questioning little, trusting much, and enjoying the adventure.
Hundreds at the Lynden Haflinger Gathering saw Mick perform a musical kur to "Beauty and the Beast" with his trainer Jessica wearing a bright yellow "Belle" dress. One member of the audience had come from California specifically to see him and he was destined to become her dancing partner from then on.
Betsy was looking for a dressage and trail partner she could trust and we knew Mick had found the perfect forever home. We just didn't know forever was going to be much shorter than any of us expected.
Mick died January 28 cradled in Betsy's arms after 6 years at home with her, as she prayed for his deliverance from a cancer diagnosed two weeks earlier. He had been eating only moments before, every bit a Haflinger to the end, choosing his own time and relieving her of the hard decision to choose for him.
He will be missed immensely by all who knew him, but particularly by Betsy who had found a horse that brought the joy of riding back to her, and could make her smile, even at the end. Mick brought blessings to this earth when he arrived on that starlit night, and almost 15 years later, he leaves them here with us in the form of sweet and precious memories.